Uncle Billys Hilo Bay
87 Banyan Dr., Hilo, Hawaii, 96720, United States
Hilo's Roach Motel
We stayed at Uncle Billy's Hilo Bay hotel and it was horrible... The day we checked in the room smelled like Goodwill... The blankets,linens and comforter smelled like wet towel. There was mold everywhere on the lamp shades, curtains, shower curtains and you name it you got mold there everywhere. At night if you like the sounds of Coqui frogs then by all means... If you are looking for somewhere where there's peace and quiet, Uncle Billy's won't be the best bet. Overall I did not enjoy my stay there at the Hilo bay hotel.. Oh and yes I will not forget... Ok you know how on every door there's a door sign to either have room service or privacy please... ok so we put it to privacy please and they still came in and cleaned our room.. i mean what is the sense of even putting a sign like that on the door... In their general rules of the hotel.. #11 states that the maid will come in and clean every occupied room and that if we did not like that we could get evicted... What kind of stuff is that?? Unreal... I give this hotel no stars and not even a thumbs up!!
Ok for a Night
We used this place for two nights that basically was our one day on the island. We flew in late evening Thursday and out very early Saturday morning. Fairly close to the airport and conviently located, our major issue with them is that there is no dedicated parking for guests. So you are on your own finding a parking spot for your rental car. And believe me, that gets annoying.
At around 100 dollars per night it seems to be what the going rate here is. But it is a lot less than you would expect for that much money. Not a knock on the hotel but a knock on what 100 is worth in this area.
Established Favorite on the Bay
We had heard both good and bad about this place before arrival, and found both to be true. Uncle Billy's is not a brand spanking new hotel in the desert. It's an established hotel in a damp and humid climate. Having said that, the room was clean and the angled view of the bay quite adequate given the modest price. The restaurant is good and there's entertainment on the weekends. Parking is tight, so we usually parked across the street in a vacant lot.
Unique Quality: Uncle Billy's is well located in central Hilo, and so getting to the airport, rental car, cheaper downtown restaurants, etc. are within easy reach. This is a no nonsense hotel, not a resort. We didn't want a resort as we spent most of our time on the road visiting the volcanoes, beaches, gardens, and other attractions in the area. Free breakfast comes with the room.
Small but quaint
Uncle Billy's is far off from luxury. They have the most basic in amenities and is very very dated, even worse than Naniloa. If you are budgeting your travel, stay here. On a high note, they have a kick ass Sunday buffet with an omlette guy taking your order.
Don't let the name scare you away
Uncle Billy's. Yes, the name is a bit off-putting, not particularly grand, and implies cheesiness. Well, that pretty much sums up the place! We were quite happy with the hotel, despite a few quirks. The price was right, the location was perfect (Hilo Bay, right on the water), and the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. I felt like I was just one of the "ohana".
Uncle Billy's is a sort of funky, 1950's Hawaiian experience. With cheesy Polynesian decor and a restaurant with a nightly Hawaiian band and hula show, it's all you could want for a local experience. The room (with kitchenette) was a good size, comfy and clean, and looked upon the lovely Koi ponds/courtyard and Hilo bay. Despite the one day where our dirty towels disappeared and were not replaced, the staff quickly remedied the situation with many apologies.
We didn't experience any of the "thin wall" noise that travel guides and e-opinions complained about. The worst offenders seemed to be the myna birds who roosted in the courtyard every evening and squawked up a storm before settling in for the night. As an amateur birder, it was a joyful ruckous and not one I minded.
Unique Quality: Nice pool, rarely used and right by the water. The kitchenettes were fairly well-stocked, although it could have used a big pot and a strainer for pasta cooking (but every place I've stayed in with a kitchenette tends to forget these very important implements). Nice big lanai (balcony) with comfy chairs and occasional visits by geckos.
We only ate in the restaurant for breakfast, which was tasty and filling, with fresh fruit and juices. However, it is an EXTREMELY popular hangout for the steak-and-seafood crowd, judging by the packed parking lot and masses of people inside every evening. Oh yes, and it has those quirky walls that open to the fresh breezes, that seem to be a requirement for most buildings in Hawai'i. Very cool.
And finally, fresh flowers in the lobby every morning for the wahine (and perhaps a kane or two) to tuck behind her ear. Hibiscus is heavenly!
Directions: Look for the Uncle Billy's sign, packed parking, and the banyan trees.
More about Uncle Billys Hilo Bay
Ok if you can't find another hotel
We stayed here because we couldn't get in the Hilo Hawaiian. Room here was dated, worn, and bed was lumpy. Towels were small and rough. Shower did have wonderful pressure-supervise small kids, it will knock them down. No hairdryer. In a good location with beautiful surroundings. Has an ajacent general store for immediate needs, but pricey--Walmart is just a few blocks away. Staff were not that helpful or friendly. Overall hotel is touristy, tropical themed which is neat.
Please stay elsewhere!
It wasn't only that the hundreds of birds outside our window woke us at 5:30 a.m. it was also: the $50 room key deposit, the different tax rate they used for our room and our friend's room next door (for the same room rate which is just illegal) and their argument about fixing it saying "that's just what the computer says", the 30 minute check-in procedure, the surly attitude of the staff, the horrible maintenance (stains, mildew, wood rot, water damage, severe termite damage, worn-out carpet/paint/wallpaper) of the room and hotel in general, being asked to move the car while we were checking in and unpacking -- then after moving the car being called in our room and told "we just want to know what possible reason you have for not moving your car" when they were informed it had already been moved they hung up (that would be without an apology). We think this is a lot going wrong considering we only stayed there for one night (thankfully!). We can say that the sheets were clean, the rooms were fairly large and there was hot water. There are far better hotels in Hilo and if you have a choice, don't stay at Uncle Billy's!
Hey folks-- face it, Hilo is not a tourist mecca with multitudes of resort style hotels--- and it never will be because of the weather.
That said, my daughter & I stayed at Uncle Billy's in April during the Merrie Monarch because kama'aina friends were able to get us a room (YOU try getting a room in Hilo during Merrie Monarch!!) Our rate was half of what the other two "big" hotels were getting. Uncle Billy's IS old (so are the other major hotels) and age takes its toll. When probably 51 weeks out of the year your occupancy rate is marginal, you don't spend mega bucks on remodeling would be my guess. But the staff was very friendly when we checked in (you get what you give) and continued to be very cordial the entire very busy week. The rooms are large, but very dated. The mattresses are somewhat lumpy, but the linens were clean every day. The towels are kind of the pits, I'll admit, pretty thin & a limited number. It's cheaper to go to Wal-Mart & buy a couple of extras than risk the "towel deposit" for additonal bath linens. :-) It was nice having a refrigerator, etc. & we were able to keep our snacks in the room. The food in the bar was good for simply basic stuff like burgers, etc. The adjacent restaurant has a decent menu at decent prices. And you get some local music thrown in to boot.
Whoever said there was a lack of eating places in Hilo didn't look--- first of all, it's KEN'S House of Pancakes (not Dave's), and if you're nice to the wait staff, they'll treat you like royalty. And the food ain't bad either. Along the highway heading out of town north just 4-5 blocks from the hotels, there are umpteen places to eat... including Cafe Pesto which is wonderful.
Bottom line-- Hilo is "old" Hawai'i. Yes, there are bugs (to whoever proclaimed they should call the exterminator). Trust me, you could spray every single day and still not win the battle on the Hilo side of this island. I've stayed in some pretty pricey resorts all over the country & I live part of the year in a resort area on the west side of the island, so I KNOW Uncle's Billy's is WAY down the list in comparison, but make the best of life, folks. You get what you give... and a little aloha spirit goes a long way. Aloha kakou!!
If you are a snob stay away !
We always stay here in Hilo.. Don't expect "Slick" and "In" stuff here. It is a great, fun and "real" Hawaiian experience. If you have come to Hilo for beaches, girls, and noise, this isn't the place. If you are here to feel the quiet, green and great sounds of myna birds waking you up and singing you to sleep, you have found your place. My wife and I have spent many late Decembers here in Hilo. The "Lost Paradise" of a fast vanishing culture.
Don't get fooled
Don't be fooled by some of the good reviews on this hotel, they're no doubt written by the management.
This place was the filthiest hotel I've ever stayed in.
1- The sheets had hair on them.
2-The carpet was moldy.
3- The room reeked of cigarettes.
4-The management was rude.
I would have preferred to sleep in my car.
I suggest you get intoxicated before arriving in your room.
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Uncle Billys Hilo Bay
We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:
- Uncle Billys Hilo Bay Hotel
Address: 87 Banyan Dr., Hilo, Hawaii, 96720, United States